Edinburgh International Film Festival is proud to announce that its country focus in 2019 will be Spain. The focus on Spain will see work by new and emerging Spanish filmmakers screen alongside that of the country’s best-known filmmakers with a range of industry and special events complementing the cinema programme.

The retrospective programme, entitled Once Upon a Time in Spain, will explore the country’s rich cinematic history through three strands: A Retrospective Celebration of Modern Spanish Cinema; A Retrospective Selection of Cult Spanish Cinema and an in-depth celebration of the work of legendary Spanish writer, actor and filmmaker, Icíar Bollaín.The Skin I Live InSenior Programmer, Niall Fulton, curator of the Spanish retrospective programme, says: “Revolving around a complete retrospective of the brilliant Icíar Bollaín’s directorial feature work, this celebration of modern Spanish cinema also features a dazzling selection of recent Spanish award winners and film festival favourites, and a thrilling late-night strand showcasing some of the finest cult cinema Spain has ever produced. As Europe undergoes dramatic changes, this programme is also designed to highlight the cultural importance of the role played by film festivals the world over. As political boundaries are drawn and re-drawn around the globe, the artistic line of international communication provided by the film festival circuit becomes more important than ever. In that sense, this retrospective programme provides us with a valuable opportunity to explore important questions of national and international identity and to address vital ongoing industry discussions from a different international perspective."

Once Upon a Time in Spain: A Retrospective Celebration of Modern Spanish Cinema

A Retrospective Celebration of Modern Spanish Cinema will showcase some of the finest Spanish cinema of recent times, including: dark comedy-drama The Last Circus (Álex de la Iglesia, 2010), nominated for the Goya Award for Best Film and also screened at the 2011 Edinburgh International Film Festival, Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Pedro Rivero, Alberto Vázquez, 2015), which will follow a screening of the Goya award winning short film from the same year, Decorado; The Skin I Live In (2011) from Hollywood favourite Pedro Almodóvar, starring Antonio Banderas; The Fury of a Patient Man (Raúl Arévalo, 2016); the much-lauded comedy Abracadabra (2017) and Snow White (2012), both from director Pablo Berger who attended EIFF in 2003 with his first feature Torremolinos 73, and Cell 211 (Daniel Monzón, 2009).Cell 211 Also, screening as a precursor to the fascinating retrospective programme will be Álex de la Iglesia’s The Day of the Beast (1995) as part of Dark Xmas 2018 at Edinburgh Filmhouse, EIFF’s annual celebration of alternative, provocative and controversial Christmas cinema from around the world, this year featuring festive cult classics with an edge from Finland and Spain.

Once Upon a Time in Spain after Dark: A Retrospective Selection of Cult Spanish Cinema

This carefully curated selection of Spanish cult cinema will include: 2007’s Timecrimes from director Nacho Vigalondo, nominated for the Goya Award for Best New Director; classic art house film Arrebato (1980, Iván Zulueta) and thriller Thesis (Alejandro Amenábar, 1996).Timecrimes

Once Upon a Time in Spain: Icíar Bollaín

The centrepiece of this retrospective programme is a celebration of the directorial work of the award-winning Spanish writer, actor and filmmaker, Icíar Bollaín. Nominated for the Goya Awards for Best New Director, her feature film directorial debut Hi, Are You Alone? (1995) will screen alongside some of her best-loved works including Flowers from Another World (1999); 2010’s internationally acclaimed Even the Rain, which was nominated for the Goya Awards for Best Film and Best Director; (2003), Kathmandu Lullaby (2011); documentary In a Foreign Land (2014), which focuses on Spanish immigrants living in Edinburgh; and The Olive Tree (2016).Icíar Bollaín at EIFF 2016

A separate programme of contemporary Spanish cinema will also be shown and the festival will host a number of industry events designed to facilitate networking between UK and Spanish filmmakers.

The 73rd edition of EIFF runs from 19 – 30 June 2019. The full programme will be announced on 29 May 2019.